Development of a cell based 3 dimensional computational model for gastrulation in chick embryos
Cell movement is one of the key mechanisms of multicellular development especially during gastrulation. In our lab we investigate the control of cell movement during gastrulation in the chick embryo. Our experiments focus on the mechanisms underlying the formation of the primitive streak and the guidance of mesoderm cells once they have ingressed through the streak. Our aim is to identify the signals that control these movements as well as the mechanisms by which the cells move in the embryo. These experiments generate many complex data the interpretation of which will require the development of cell based computational models, which allow us to test different competing hypothesis suggested by our experiments in more quantitative detail. We already use the Glazier Graner cellular automata model as implemented by COMPUCELL-3D. This computational framework allows modelling of up to tens of thousands of cells in 3D. Cells can have different internal differentiation programs and modify these in response to cell- cell signalling. The differentiation state affects behaviours such as cell division and movement thus resulting development. The aim of this project is to build a 3D model for the early stages of chick gastrulation starting with the formation of the primitive streak, the extension of the streak, ingression of mesoderm and endoderm cells and the initial phases of neurulation and somitogenesis. This model will be used to benchmark our experimental data and to develop and test novel working hypothesis, which will then guide further experiments. Applicants should have a strong background in Physics/Mathematics and a keen interest in applying these skills in Biology or alternative a background in Cell Biology/Development as well as have basic programming skills and an interest in developing these further. Informal enquires can be directed to [Email Address Removed]
Applicants should have a strong background in Physics/Mathematics and a keen interest in applying these skills in Biology or alternative a background in Cell Biology/Development as well as have basic programming skills and an interest in developing these further. Informal enquires can be directed to [Email Address Removed]
1. Yang X, Chrisman H, Weijer C.J. (2008) PDGF signalling controls migration of mesoderm cells during chick gastrulation by regulating N-cadherin expression. Development (in press).
2. Chuai, M. and C. J. Weijer (2007). "The mechanisms underlying primitive streak formation in the chick embryo." Curr Top Dev Biol 81: 135-56.
3. Leslie, N. R., Yang, X., Downes, P. C. and Weijer, C. J. (2007). PtdIns (3,4,5)P3 dependent and independent roles for PTEN in the control of cell migration. Current Biology 17., 115-25.
4. Vasiev,B, Balter A, Chaplain M, Glazier, J.A, Weijer C.J (2010) Modeling Gastrulation in the Chick Embryo: Formation of the Primitive Streak. PLoS ONE 5(5): e10571.
5. Sandersius SA, Chuai M, Weijer CJ, Newman TJ. (2011) A 'chemotactic dipole'echanism for large-scale vortex motion during primitive streak formation in the chick embryo. Phys Biol. 2011 Aug;8 (4):045008